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For a handful of days this weekend, visitors to Kelowna’s downtown core will have a chance to experience the work of local artists without the typical gallery experience. More than 30 local businesses have generously offered their storefront windows to display original artworks as part of the Downtown Gallery, an initiative of the Art Council of the Central Okanagan.
“”We are very happy and excited to support local artists as we value the arts as an aspect of society that enriches and enhances our community,” said Gabrielle Gottschlag, manager of Ten Fashions Bridal & Special Occasions in Town Centre Mall. “One could say that the styles and fashions we carry are works of art, so it is not a big stretch to have the lovely creations of our local artists next to the work of our fashion designers.”
A call to artists was put out earlier this month for this juried event and the selection team worked in tandem with business owners to select pieces that were most suitable for each location, while also showcasing the strong artistic talent in the Okanagan. Installation is underway and the artworks will remain up for the duration of the Culture Days weekend, September 30 to October 2.
“As an artist it is great to participate in events where art is on display in a non gallery setting, it’s informal and invites conversation,” explained Synnöve Seidman, whose work was selected for display in the window of Ten Fashions. “The Downtown Gallery is a fabulous opportunity to start conversations about art. In my opinion the strength of a city is reflected in its cultural engagement.”
The Downtown Gallery is the second project of its kind that ARTSCO has offered. In partnership with the Uptown Rutland Business Association, ARTSCO executed the Art in Empty Spaces project last year, placing the work of 17 artists in 12 Rutland businesses. Two of these participating locations have since joined ARTSCO’s Artscape community exhibition program; Aubin and Associates – Notaries Public and the Rutland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library.
Art lovers can visit www.artsco.ca for a custom Google Map that allows visitors to easily locate the art stops and see the name of the artist on their phones. In addition to the public art aspect of the project, most artworks are also available for sale, giving fans of the artists an opportunity to own an original painting. Those wishing to purchase pieces can do so by contacting email@example.com or 250-861-4123.